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The more it changes, the more it remains the same

  • Bibi Congress making point
With the Israeli elections behind us and the votes being tallied today (Wednesday), it is an interesting day in Israel.
by LARA DOEL | Mar 18, 2015

The lead-up to the elections held a different feel to any that I have experienced in the seven and a half years since I made aliyah from South Africa. Although certainly not representative, my social media feeds prior to voting day, teemed with individuals, across all party lines, pushing for their preferred candidates - mostly related to domestic issues, more specifically, the economy - finances and the inability of many of Israel’s citizens to purchase homes.

On the street, calls to vote in Labour (the Isaac Herzog-Tzipi Livni team) were strong, while parties like Bayit Yehudi, under the leadership of Naftali Bennett, pushed the undecided to vote for him in order to keep Benjamin Netanyahu (or Bibi as he is generally known) on the straight and narrow in a right-wing-led incoming government.

On election day, as Israelis from all stripes prepared for a welcome “Sunday”, the media overwhelmingly reported on the high hopes that the votes would usher in a new government and a new era.

As we woke up the day after, it became increasingly clear that that overwhelmingly pro-left-wing stance is not where the majority of Israelis seem to be and a vast majority of the Israeli public have shown confidence in Netanyahu and boosted him to 29 or 30 seats (the final results have yet to be tallied).

Adam Segal, a former South African who has been in Israel for close on two decades and who was not shy to show his full support for Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi party in the lead-up to and day of the elections, was crushed by the outcome.

“I don’t have high hopes [for the future] to be honest. I think this election was a huge waste of money. We are in no better a position than we were three months ago. Labour supporters will be celebrating, but in reality, they’re still in second place and will sit in the opposition, so there is no real difference.

“The winners are Likud, Labour and the Arab List. The losers are the social parties and ultimately, that is what this election was supposed to be about. We wanted a new government to fix the internal problems and instead, it’s all about foreign affairs.”

Jonathan Davis, an immigrant from the United States, former aliyah shaliach to South Africa and current vice president of external relations and head of the Raphael Recanati International School at IDC Herzliya, said: “I think that the Labour party has a lot of soul-searching to do because it’s not connecting with most of the people in Israel.

“Those people who they claim are of a lower socio-economic level that they want to help, are the ones who voted against them. They seem to be more connected to middle-class and upper middle-class and I fully agree with the assessment of MK Shelly Yachimovich that the Labour party needs to go back to roots and espouse its original ideology if they wish to make an impact. The voters who voted for the Likud appeared to be many of the same original voters who used to support Menachem Begin.”

4 Comments

  1. 4 Shmuel 18 Mar
    What the current Israeli Jew thinks is,Socialist/Marxist Zionist Union big-govt' is not for us/them and emphatically rejected it outright,sanity in our Jewish state prevailed,despite leftist lies and rhetoric and despicable Bibi attacks . 
  2. 3 Eliezer 19 Mar
    This election result is the worst news for us Jews in SA. Bibi and Bennett are going to place our shuls and communities in extreme danger of radical Moslems. Bibi most certainly is not the leader of all Jews like he thinks, I would follow the Chief Rabbi before this Netanyahu fellow. Bibi's is racist, and SA jews should not align themselves to such a person.
  3. 2 Choni 19 Mar
    Eliezer, You can't be serious!!!!!!!
  4. 1 nat cheiman 23 Mar
    Netanyahu is the perfect storm for the middle east.
    He doesn't lick butt and will punch out any country in the middle east attempting to wage war.
    Hamas and Hezbollah, WATCH OUT!!!!!!.Palestinians need to be rehomed in Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Sweden, Denmark and Italy, Britain and France will take some of them too.

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